Police investigate Chinese criminal syndicate money laundering in Victoria, NSW; Chris Bowen and energy ministers agree new plan

Energy Minister Chris Bowen said giving the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) the ability to purchase and store gas for use during power shortages will be “implemented work quickly.”

Bowen met with state energy ministers meeting on Wednesday and agreed on an 11-point plan to address immediate energy challenges and create a national transition plan to phase out fossil fuels and strengthen the energy grid to withstand to more difficult weather conditions.

Federal Energy Minister Chris Bowen at the Energy Ministers meetingCredit:AAP

Wholesale power prices soared just at the start of winter and Bowen hopes the power market operator can help ease some of those cost pressures by buying gas to use when prices will soar.

“It’s a big step forward,” Bowen told RN Breakfast on Thursday.

“Some of the steps will apply very quickly and some are an agreement to work in the medium term and those are all important things.

“There was a real spirit of cooperation in the room and colleagues from the States and Territories were represented at the table by Labour, Liberals and Greens, and we all agree that we are in this task together.

“Some of the immediate things are like giving AEMO the power to buy gas and keep it in storage can be released in crises like the ones we faced last week will have a pretty early effect, and certainly give us more powers to get us through crises like these [in future].”

“This will be implemented very quickly and will give AEMO the necessary powers to help us through this crisis and those in the near future, as opposed to, say, our agreement to have what I call a supercharged integrated systems plan and an agreement to have all the investments in all the technologies necessary for the disorderly transition that we have to make towards renewable energies to have this integrated federal and state level.

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